A few potential candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination displayed their displeasure about the New Jersey Governor’s landslide election day win yesterday.

Senator Rubio downplayed the Christie win:

“I think we need to understand that some of these races don’t apply to future races. Every race is different — it has a different set of factors — but I congratulate [Christie] on his win,” Rubio told CNN’s Dana Bash.

“Clearly [Christie] was able to speak to the hopes and aspirations of people within New Jersey. That’s important,” he added. “We want to win everywhere and Governor Christie has certainly shown he has a way of winning in New Jersey, in states like New Jersey … so I congratulate him on that.”

CORRECTION: While the quote below is correct, it is out of context.  According to the Senator’s office, Ted Cruz was responding to a direct question about Christie’s criticism of Washington.  In that context the Senator’s response is not as harsh as first seemed.

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Senator Cruz suggested that Christie wasn’t principled:

“I think it is terrific that he is brash, that he is outspoken, and that he won his race,” Cruz told ABC News in the Capitol today. “But I think we need more leaders in Washington with the courage to stand for principle. And in particular, Obamacare is not working.”

Senator Paul criticized Christie during a Senate hearing for appearing in a post-Sandy Jersey Shore tourism commercial:

Paul didn’t name Christie, but he made it clear he didn’t approve of politicians appearing in advertisements while running for office.

“People running for office put their mug all over these ads while they are in the middle of a campaign,” Paul said. “In New Jersey, $25 million was spent on ads that included somebody running for political office. You think there might be a conflict of interest there? You know that’s a real problem.”

Christie and his family were featured in a TV ad campaign encouraging people to come back to the New Jersey shore.

Note, this is not a Jennifer Rubin-type backhand endorsement of Chris Christie, I haven’t the slightest idea of who I will support in the GOP primaries.  But I will fight like heck for the person nominated because that candidate has to be better than Hillary Clinton (or whoever else comes out of the Democratic Party).

On the other hand, these guys need to back off a bit. During the extremely long 2012 primary season, Republican candidates bashed Mitt Romney so hard, with so many unfair charges that it had to hurt him in the general election. At the very least the Obama smear machine used them against Romney.

Senators Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Governor Christie  and anybody else who vies for the nomination should free to display their policy disagreements with their opponents, and argue them hard—but when it reeks of getting personal they are hurting the ultimate goal, that is to make sure the next President, who ever that might be, comes from the GOP.